As an American with a Pagan dad and a Southern Baptist mom, I celebrate both Solstice and Christmas. As a person with friends who love hosting over-the-top parties, every year I spend a couple days helping prep for a massive New Years Eve party.
I know I’m fortunate to be at a company that shuts down for a week at the end of December. My previous company didn’t but it’s a great way to help cut down some of the holiday stress. Or give me more time to fill with family and friends…
And believe me, my schedule has been jam-packed. Full of people I love, but definitely busy.
There was one thing though, that I missed. Despite my moderately-distracted efforts.
I missed the taste of wonder, of peace, of heart-filling joy that I usually can find this time of year.
For me? Usually, it’s after sunset. Either outside, in the still and the quiet of the night, with the chill nipping at my nose and the moon shining down. Or inside, with all the lights turned down low, just sitting and basking in the light of my tree.
Well, I found a quiet moment outside with the moon shining down — took a picture, and ran off to the Solstice celebration a friend was hosting.
I found a few evenings with my lights turned low and my tree all aglow. But, I didn’t get my sense of basking.
I don’t know if I was distracted or tired or if I just wasn’t in the proper frame of mind, but I missed it.
Now, this isn’t to say I’ve had a bad holiday! Not by any stretch of the imagination. Minimal drama, seeing almost all of those I love, lovely and thoughtful gifts, delicious food. All the things that make the season bright. But I missed the magic.
As for my writing?
I’ve done nothing this month. But, that’s not unusual for me with my post-NaNo hangover, chore backup, and seasonal plans.
Now? I sit and contemplate what I want to do next. I’ve debated incorporating the feedback and hopping back on the query road, revising a rough draft, or finding a new project.
Because? There’s the never-ceasing sensation that a deadline is looming. Only one problem with that. This writing thing? The only deadlines for are the ones I give myself. I have no agent, no editor, no contracts. True, I’d like to have that sense of ‘done’, that feeling of accomplishment. But there is no one, other than myself, staring at the calendar and waiting for me to finish. To find a publisher or publish it myself.
I think need to take a break from the writing until I’m ready. Until I’m excited once more to see how much better I can make my story. Until I’m ready to dive back into the query trenches or the editing doldrums. Until I can find the magic again.
Meanwhile? I’ll think about my worlds, I’ll take notes when inspired, and I’ll keep blogging–sharing advice I’ve received from people who DO have deadlines and have already found their audience.
And? I’ll read.
Did you celebrate the holidays? Did you find your joy?
If you’re writing for yourself, do you have trouble letting yourself take a break?
Even if Americans can’t all agree on values, priorities, or who’s right (clearly: ME), I still have hope for a brighter future for our nation.
America has made me what I am today and, for better or worse, she’s my home.
In honor of the holiday, here’s my recording of the Star Spangled Banner from last year. (I’m not much better now.)
P.S. It was originally broadcast live. NOT the culmination of clips of 25 million different takes.
I know, I know, this is a writing blog and I’m not a huge sports fan. But I’ve been casually following hockey, especially the ‘Caps’ since 2002.
That was the year my boyfriend at the time played through 3 seasons of video game hockey. I napped some, I read some, and I watched some.
I liked the game. They played a lot of games, but not like 5 days a week, so you could keep up with it (looking at you, baseball). It was fast-paced, stoppage of play was rare (looking at you, football), low-scoring (looking at you, basketball), but scores did happen (looking at you, soccer), and physical! where FIGHTS were allowed (so long as they didn’t get out of hand).
I mean, a sport where you’ve got to hold the other guy’s jersey, or their skates will slide them out of reach when you go for a punch? The absurdity of it appealed to me. Plus, if the fight didn’t get too out of hand, it was just a 5 minute
Plus? The game didn’t work without real teamwork. At least not at that level.
Although, after video game hockey? When I actually saw the REAL Caps play, I was confused that all the best players WEREN’T on their team. And where was the cross-checking champion, Hrothgar?
But as time went on, I haven’t lived in a place with cable since 2008, so I just hadn’t watched a lot of games.
For years, I considered myself the biggest Caps fan that never watched a game.
In the last couple years, I’ve started to watch their games.
Last year? My old job gave us the last-minute opportunity to watch a game live, from a box. It was an awesome experience and completely solidified my love of the sport and the team.
Last night, for the FIRST TIME IN FRANCHISE HISTORY (i.e. since the team was created), the Caps won The Stanley Cup, making them, (at least until next year), the top team in the world.
In hockey, for the play-offs, it’s a series of ‘best out of 7’ games. And their last series was against the Vegas Knights, a brand new ‘expansion’ team, made from taking players from other teams.
Shout out to the Knights – The fact that a brand new team, especially in a sport that is all about teamwork, made it not only to the playoffs, but to the finals was INCREDIBLE. According to announcers, it’s basically unheard of in any sport.
One more thing. The Knight’s goal tender? Their goalie is Marc-André Fleury, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and a major reason the Caps hadn’t made it to the Stanley Cup finals, especially in 2016 and 2017.
We started off with a loss against the Knights. But then, we came back. And entered in game 5, with a 3-1 lead. One more game and we would win the championship.
We’re DC fans, we know our teams are incredible at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We were scared to believe, fearful that our hope would doom us.
Then last night, around 11:30 pm, during game 5 of the series, we won the Stanley Cup! Watching the players take a lap with the cup, watching their joy, their tears, and the way they came together as a family was heartwarming and endearing.